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Stewart v. Parkview Hospital, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

October 20, 2017

TYQUAN STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
PARKVIEW HOSPITAL, INC., and LAKISHA HOUSTON, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, CHIEF JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 43] filed by Defendants Parkview Hospital, Inc. and Lakisha Houston (“the Defendants”). The Plaintiff, Tyquan Stewart, filed his Third Amended Complaint against the Defendants on November 23, 2016 [ECF No. 28], alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title III (“the ADA”), the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (“the EMTALA”), negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. On August 25, 2017, the Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 43] as to the Plaintiff's claims under the ADA and EMTALA and his negligence claim. The Plaintiff responded on September 13, 2017 [ECF No. 45], and the Defendants replied [ECF No. 48] on September 26, 2017. This matter is now fully briefed and ripe for review.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff is a thirty-six-year-old African-American male suffering from PTSD, schizophrenia, and depression. Parkview Behavioral Health (“PBH”) is an inpatient and outpatient psychiatric hospital located approximately one mile from Parkview Randallia Hospital. PBH does not have an Emergency Department, nor does it provide twenty-four-hour emergent medical care. Patients who present to PBH requiring emergent psychiatric care are evaluated at the Emergency Department at Parkview Randallia Hospital. When an individual presents to PBH after hours seeking psychiatric care, the on-duty security officer instructs the individual to go to the Emergency Department at Parkview Randallia Hospital.

         On December 20, 2015, the Plaintiff presented himself after hours to PBH and requested to be admitted because he was experiencing suicidal thoughts. Previously, the Plaintiff had been treated at PBH for symptoms of schizophrenia, including delusional thoughts, paranoia, and depressive mood. The on-duty security officer, Lakisha Houston, directed the Plaintiff to the Emergency Department at Parkview Randallia Hospital for immediate medical assistance. The Plaintiff subsequently left and drove his vehicle into an apartment complex in an attempt to commit suicide.

         At approximately 3:00 AM, officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department were dispatched to the scene. Upon their arrival, responding officers overheard the Plaintiff repeatedly stating, “I just wanted to die, that's all I'm trying to do is kill myself, the voices are telling me to do this” and stating that he believed that someone was trying to kill him. The Plaintiff was subsequently taken to the Emergency Department at Parkview Hospital's main campus. Due to his multiple suicidal statements and agitated behavior, the Plaintiff was detained at the hospital until December 24, 2015.

         Following the incident on December 20, 2015, PBH re-examined its policy regarding after-hours presentment by individuals seeking emergency attention and instituted a new practice whereby PBH would arrange for such a person to be transported from PBH to the Emergency Department at Parkview Randallia Hospital.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is proper where the evidence of record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The burden then shifts to the non-movant to “go beyond the pleadings” to cite evidence of a genuine factual dispute that precludes summary judgment. Id. at 324. “[A] court has one task and one task only: to decide, based on the evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that requires a trial.” Waldridge v. Am. Heochst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). If the non-movant does not come forward with evidence that would reasonably permit the finder of fact to find in its favor on a material issue, then the Court must enter summary judgment against it. Id.

         ANALYSIS

         The Defendants assert that summary judgment is warranted because: (1) the Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case under Title III of the ADA, (2) PBH was not subject to the EMTALA and that the Plaintiff should have known of the separate hospital campus with a dedicated emergency department, and (3) the Court lacks jurisdiction over the Plaintiff's negligence claims, which must proceed before the Indiana Department of Insurance pursuant to Indiana Code § 34-18-8-4. The Court considers each argument in turn.

         A. Title III of the ADA

         Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation. Specifically, “[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). “The core meaning of this provision, plainly enough, is that the owner or operator of a store, hotel, restaurant, dentist's office, travel agency, theater, Web site, or other facility . . . that is open to the public cannot exclude disabled persons from entering the facility.” Doe v. Mut. Of Omaha Ins., Co., 179 F.3d 557, 559 (7th Cir. 1999). A prima facie case under Title III of the ADA consists of three elements: (1) the plaintiff was disabled within the meaning of the ADA; (2) the defendant owned, leased, or operated a place of public accommodation; and (3) the plaintiff was discriminated against on the basis of his or her disability. 42 U.S.C. § 12188.

         Discrimination includes the “failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities” and the “failure to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(iii). There is no dispute that the Plaintiff was disabled within the meaning of ...


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